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Minor bulbs provide major impact

Many of us associate the word bulb with a couple types of flowers:  Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinths.  There are numerous other kinds of bulbs that we can plant to enhance our early spring gardens.  Most of them are smaller in size and bloom earlier in the season than the major bulbs.  These bulbs are known as minor bulbs and include: Snow drops, Snow Crocus, Windflowers, Squill, Grape Hyacinth, and Scilla.

Snow drops are among the first leaves to emerge and they bring a small dainty white flower with green markings.  They are best planted in groups and do well in a woodland area.


Snow Crocus also bloom very early, and do not mind getting snowed on.  There are yellow, purple, white, and 2 toned varieties.  These bulbs multiply over time and look best planted in larger groups.

Anemone Blanda, also known as windflowers have interesting foliage and fun, bright flowers.  They come a bit later in the spring and also multiply over the years.

windflowerGrape Hyacinth is one of the most common minor bulbs.  It is the best multiplier, and some people even consider it a nuisance.  Although not related to a traditional hyacinth, it has the same structure and very grass like leaves.

grape hyacinthThe other bulbs mentioned are Squill and Scilla, and both arrive in early spring.  There are many varieties of both coming in colors of blue, white and purple. These are also excellent naturalizers and at home in a woodland setting.

When you are planting your spring garden, don’t forget to add the minor bulbs.  They provide early color and texture in a garden.  They also compliment the major bulbs once they bloom.  Additionally, they are a food source for pollinator when not much else is available.  Plant these smaller bulbs in larger groups to make sure they are not lost in the garden.